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  • Affiliation : Chairman of the Executive Board, PIR Center; Co-Chair of the Trialogue Club International.
  • Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2787 points. Dunay, Buzhinsky comment events of the week.

19.08.2014

MOSCOW, AUGUST 19, 2014. PIR PRESS “EU states may be able to supply Ukraine by gas from the west. Alexei Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, only once said that if this happens his company would go to court. The fact he never repeated it again, indicate that the legal ground of say Slovakia, Hungary or Poland selling gas to Naftogaz most probably does not violate the contract between Gazprom and the gas companies of those Central European states. However, it is a problem that this will not cover the need of Ukraine as of late autumn or winter”, – Director of OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Pál Dunay.   

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant (in Russian).

During the week of August 11-18, 2014, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2787 points. Israel and Hamas during the negotiations in Cairo decided to extend the ceasefire for five days. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced the complete destruction of sarin gas, moved out of Syria. In Iraq, the United States Air Force launched a series of attacks on militant positions; the president of Iraq Faud Masoom appointed Haider al-Abadi as a new prime minister, acting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to recognize this decision. In Egypt, during the clashes between Islamists and security forces seven people were killed. In Libya, took place mass demonstrations of supporters and opponents of the elected parliament. At the line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir occurred skirmish between Pakistani and Indian border guards. North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. In eastern Ukraine, shelling of Lugansk and Donetsk continued; Ukrainian border guards refused to accept cargo shipped from Russia as a humanitarian aid.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Pál Dunay, (Hungary), Director of OSCE Academy in Bishkek - by e-mail from Bishkek: Many EU countries, which are further away from Russia than Ukraine are currently paying less for the same quantity of gas than Kyiv does. This is geographically absurd and Ukraine may rightly see it as discriminatory. However, it is for a fact that Ukraine is a difficult customer that regularly has massive payment problems.  It can be taken for granted that Ukraine will be obliged to pay its arrears to Gazprom if not voluntarily then under the coming decision of the Stockholm court of arbitration.

EU states may be able to supply Ukraine by gas from the west. Alexei Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, only once said that if this happens his company would go to court. The fact he never repeated it again, indicate that the legal ground of say Slovakia, Hungary or Poland selling gas to Naftogaz most probably does not violate the contract between Gazprom and the gas companies of those Central European states. However, it is a problem that this will not cover the need of Ukraine as of late autumn or winter and Ukraine will obliged to pay for the gas in a timely fashion.

The EU, which is now quite influential on Ukraine, would certainly not support Kyiv’s and Naftogaz’s position to violate legal rules. However, it will certainly back up Ukraine not to let her be exposed to the blackmail of Gazprom (and behind it the Russian state).

Evgeny Buzhinsky (Russia), PIR Center Senior Vice President, Lieutenant General (Retired)  by phone from Moscow: The level of security in the world has been steadily declining. The prospects for its growth in the foreseeable future are deem. The ongoing civil war in the southeast of Ukraine is the main negative factor for global and regional security. There is impression that Kiev finally set course for a military solution of the conflict, with the unconditional support of the United States in the implementation of its plans.

Comparable in scale is confrontation of the Islamists and the government in Iraq. Washington's decision to the launch air strikes against the positions of the Islamists will not lead to their rapid defeat, but only increase the degree of Sunni-Shiite conflict in Iraq. Capture oil fields in the Kurdish provinces of the country by Islamists could lead to a destabilization of the global oil market. On the background of the ongoing civil war in Syria, Iraqi confrontation can lead to further reduction of the level of security in the region.

Positive event of the period, in terms of countering attempts of Washington and Brussels to organize diplomatic and economic isolation of Russia, was the BRICS summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza. Decision to create a New Development Bank of BRICS adopted at the summit could be the first step towards the end of the financial dominance of the United States in the world.

In autumn of 2014, the security in the world will depend entirely on the above-mentioned conflicts. Events in Ukraine, in my opinion, can unfold according to the following scenarios. The first one: the fighting will move to Donetsk and Lugansk in the form of urban guerilla. This will prolong the armed conflict indefinitely. In the second scenario, the Kiev authorities will take a political decision to destroy those cities using heavy weapons and aviation that will provide them military victory, but will be accompanied by numerous victims among the civilian population and the total destruction of civilian infrastructure of the Southeastern Ukraine.

As for the prospects of confrontation between the governments of Iraq with the Islamists, the experience of such conflicts in the region indicates that they rarely result in a quick victory for one of the parties, and tend to be protracted. The situation might change if the United States decide to renew ground operations. However, this options still seems unlikely.

For all the questions concerning the International Security Index please contact Galiya Ibragimova by e-mail ibragimova at pircenter.org

 

 

 

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